A River and a Prison at Philippi

As my trip through Greece continues We make a stop in ancient Philippi.

First we went down to the likely location of the first meeting of Paul and Lydia. Their conversation led to the baptism of Lydia and her entire household ( Acts 16:11-15).

Throughout the trip I’ve had my ears open for what children might find interesting. Today such a thought came up when discussing the fact that Lydia was a business woman who sold purple cloth. Our guide shared one gross tidbit that I know the boys in my Bible classes would find interesting. The local method of the day for making purple dye was to crush a particular kind of seashell and mix it with human feces. Yuck!

Perhaps something to share next time you teach the Bible lesson “Lydia Becomes a Christian“.

After going to the river we toured the nearby ruins of the ancient city. We viewed the market area where Lydia might have sold her wares.

In this same city Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into jail. An earthquake later made the gates of the jail swing open and the chains on prisoners simply fall off. This led to the jailer becoming a Christian. You can read all about it in Acts 16:16-40 and the Bible lesson is at Jailer Becomes a Christian.

The photos above show jail cells at Philippi.

Happy teaching!

One Step at a Time Up to Mars Hill

2018 Mars Hill Steps

God has blessed me with an opportunity to travel through Greece over the next week. Along the way I’ll try to send some pictures and thoughts you might like to share with the children you teach.

Today I’m in Athens and typing this from the top of Mars Hill (the Areopagus).

There are ruins of temples in many places. Seeing all the temples around makes me really appreciate the Apostle Paul and how he stood on Mars Hill and shared the Good News of Christ with philosophers. You can read about that event here.

The steps leading up to the top of the rock have been worn smooth because of the millions of people who have climbed them over the years. I snapped a picture of my daughter-in-law, Olivia, climbing these treacherous steps today. These would have been the same stairs Paul would have climbed!

I think kids would enjoy scrambling over the huge rocks and picking the little yellow flowers growing between them.

2018 Mars Hill Flowers

I watched two little Arabic-speaking girls crying out “Abba, Abba” in worried voices to their dad as he leaned over a dangerous edge gathering two of the little flowers to give to them. They were all smiles when he was safely back with them and gave them the flowers.

Let’s Dance!

Dancing.sm

After crossing the Red Sea and being delivered from your enemies, what would YOU want to do?  A seven year old in my Bible class answered, “I would do this!” and then proceeded to dance around our classroom clearly demonstrating pure joy.

Sometimes the illustrations I’ve selected and the scripts from which I read simply pale in comparison to the spontaneous responses of children who hear about what God has done.

Over a span of about a month we had journeyed along with Moses and the Hebrews and felt the pain of their suffering in Egyptian bondage.  We had seen God at work through the ten plagues.  We  worked our way through the emotional experience of the night when the angel of death passed over.  We trembled as we crossed through the Red sea on dry land with great walls of water on either side of us and the enemy right on our heels.

Now, after reviewing these events one more time, I asked the children in our Bible class to imagine being a Hebrew that day and looking back over the water of the Red Sea.  I asked them to imagine the feeling of knowing that God was so strong and loved us so much that he had conquered our enemies and gotten us out of Egypt.  My question “What would you feel like doing?” was a rhetorical question so I was simply floored when this seven year old spontaneously responded in exactly the way the Hebrews did!

Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. Miriam sang to them:  ‘Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted.  Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.’”  Exodus 15:20-21, NIV

At that point I put other activities aside and we all did just what the Hebrews had done.  We danced in praise to God for what he had done. Never mind that we were in an upstairs room and the adults in the Bible class below us thought I had possibly lost control of my class.  (Never mind that I probably DID lose control over them for just a few moments).  Never mind that the kids danced much better than the teacher.

The fact is that we participated together in some of the most “Biblical moments” I had experienced in quite some time.

The children went on the demonstrate dance moves depicting the plagues and the Passover and the crossing through the sea.  Then, after what turned out to be a rather morbid rendition of the annihilation of Pharaoh and his army, I drew the children back in together and we participated in some quieter activities.

Once again, I thank God that I have the honour of sharing His Word with children and that so often the children become my teachers.

More ideas for teaching using movement and dance

Movement and Dance

Marble Painting a Burning Bush

Marble Painting Complete

The children in our mixed-aged Bible class last Sunday created some awesome pictures using marbles and paints.  The lesson for the day was about when the Lord spoke to Moses from a Burning Bush 

We talked about how God was concerned about the suffering of his people and was giving Moses the important job of rescuing them.  After the lesson we gathered our supplies and made these lovely pictures.  Younger children needed more help and the older ones were able to do each step on their own.  Of course, the best part was being able to chat about the story as we worked on the craft!

Supplies

  • A baking pan or shallow box with sides (one for each child or take turns)
  • A large paper cut to the size of the bottom of the pan or box
  • Crayons
  • Paints in fire colours like red, yellow, orange, brown and black (tempera or acrylic works well)
  • Marbles (heavy ones work better and we had 3 per child)
  • Tape
  • Damp paper towels or items of choice for clean-up

Method

  1. Children draw a free-style bush on the paper using the crayons.  This is the best time to write names or titles on the drawings, too.
  2. Place the paper in the tray and secure the edges with a few pieces of tape.
  3. Sparingly dot the paper with various colours of paint (thick globs don’t work).
  4. Place the marbles on the surface of the paper and move the trays around slowly in a rolling or gentle wave-like motion.  As the marbles roll around they will pick up paint and distribute it over the paper.
  5. Remove the marbles and hang the pictures to dry.

Other Stories for this Craft

Use this same method and different colours of paint to create effects.  Generally, the student will draw the main picture and then use the paints to create the effect.  Alternatively, you could provide a printed colour sheet and then have the children create the paint effect over it.

  • Wind using white and a little black on gray paper.
    • Sermon at Pentecost  (Draw the people or steps of the colonnade and then create the wind with paint)
  • Mood or Feeling using multi-colours on coloured or black paper.  This is more abstract but can be very effective.
  • Plants using green and a few dots for flowers.
  • Light using white or light yellow on black paper.  Fill the page with the colours of light.  Add some glow in the dark paint for fun.
  • Fire and Brimstone using red, yellow, orange or just use yellow and white with a little red to highlight the brimstone.  Draw the city first and then create fire and brimstone with paint.
  • Hair using brown or black.  Draw Samson’s face first and then create the hair with paint.

How to Use on Any Story

Create a frame around any verse or picture by taping a paper over the centre of the paper (where the words are written) and only leave a blank space around the edges of the paper exposed.  Once the painting is complete then remove the paper.

Marble Painting Pin

 

Website Update

Next time you open http://www.missionbibleclass.org you’ll notice a few changes to the look and feel.

Since I have two great interns working with me right now, we’re using the opportunity to update the look of the site. There are quite a few details to take care of so please let me know right away if you notice something is not quite right.

As always, may God bless you as you share His Word with children!

Mary

mary@missionbibleclass.org